Skip to comments.Plattsmouth man sues Wal-Mart, says overfilled plastic bag led to wife's death
Posted on 08/28/2013 5:42:49 PM PDT by kevcol
A Plattsmouth woman's widower has sued Wal-Mart and the maker of its plastic bags, alleging an overfilled bag given to her at a Bellevue store broke, and, in a strange twist, led to her death.
William Freis of Plattsmouth said his wife, Lynette, went grocery shopping April 16, 2010, at the Wal-Mart Supercenter on 15th Street and the cashier gave her one plastic bag for two 42-ounce cans of La Choy and a 2-pound bag of rice.
On her way to the car, the bag broke and one of the cans of La Choy fell on her right foot, breaking her big toe and causing a deep cut, the lawsuit says.
William Freis' attorney, Gage Cobb, said that led to an infection.
Despite multiple rounds of antibiotics and two surgical procedures, Lynette Freis' condition declined and infection spread throughout her body, which led to hospitalizations "and ultimately resulted in her death on March 12, 2011," according to the lawsuit.
Freis originally sued Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the distributor of its plastic bags, Missouri-based Bunzl Distribution, and the manufacturer, Hilex Poly Co. of South Carolina, in Sarpy County District Court.
Late last week, the case was transferred to U.S. District Court in Omaha.
The wrongful death suit alleges Wal-Mart was negligent for failing to properly train its employees to prevent them from overfilling grocery bags and knowing when to double bag a customer's groceries.
And, the suit says, the defendants provided Lynette Freis with a defective grocery bag.
Her estate is seeking more than $656,000 in medical expenses, plus an unspecified amount for her pain and suffering and funeral and burial expenses, as well as her husband's loss of consortium.
Neither Wal-Mart nor the other defendants has filed an answer to the allegations yet, but Wal-Mart attorney Heidi Guttau-Fox sought the move to federal court.
Reached Tuesday, Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove extended condolences to Lynette Freis' family.
"Customer safety is a top priority, and we take it seriously any time an injury is reported in one of our stores," he said.
Hargrove said the company is investigating the allegations and will respond appropriately in court.
She dropped nothing but money at the cash register.
They’s crackas, throw it out...
Sigh. And WTF is your problem.
I was thinking the same thing. Knowing you have giant cans in flimsy bags, she chose to not use a cart.
My problem is this was not self inflicted.
I just figured it out, the poster is William Freis
She picked up the bag knowing what was in it. She broke the bag. She dropped the can. I have no idea what sorts of bad decisions she made so to die of such a thing... But nobody else was involved. Her bag. Her can. Her toe. Her problem.
If I were Walmart's legal team, I would want to know her blood sugar readings and whether she had diabetes, poor circulation or any other condition that would cause her to be so intractably infected in the foot. She looked pretty hefty, too -- no offense. I just don't believe you can hold merchants responsible for freak accidents just because they happen on their property, unless there really is negligence.
I don't see any negligence here. People know that today's plastic bags are thin. Some customers only want one and don't want to be bothered with extras; others need extras for such reasons as having to ride a bus with their groceries. All you have to do is ask the clerk what you want, or take extras yourself -- they are right there for the taking, as are the shopping carts to carry your stuff all the way out to your car.
If the deceased failed to take such commonsense steps to protect her own safety, why should the consumer have to foot the bill, as all costs will eventually be passed to them?
I have to admit that Wal-mart bags are the worst. Many times I have picked one up and one of the handles will rip just like they were made of paper. They are so thin that it is just pathetic.
I'm just guessing here, but the thin-bag syndrome you've noticed may be a result of recycling. With the increased cost of oil (going back 10 years or so), recycling plastics seems to have become more and more common in consumer goods.
I first became aware of the difference when buying a bunch of plastic DVD cases for a video project - the store pointed out that the cheap cases were made of recycled plastic and were, well, cheap. The better cases, like what you would expect to come with a purchased movie, cost considerably more, but were made from "virgin" plastic and were much better made. Somehow, I doubt most stores are too concerned about the quality of plastic that goes into their bags, just concerned about the price....
The person who bagged it handed her a bag that they knew was over stuffed, and did so as a professional.
But I am sure there is no liability there.
Of course it wasn’t self-inflicted. But that doesn’t mean Walmart is culpable. It means it was an accident and sometimes we have to grow up and deal with the consequences of accidents.
If the Walmart employee had dropped the can on her foot, sure, there is probably some issue with culpability, responsibility.
But anyone who has shopped at a store in the US in the last 10 year knows that the plastic bags suck. Period. And the bag manufacturers and stores were hounded into using those bags by the environmental lefty whackos. If you want to hold someone accoutable, hold them accountable.
Given that these bags suck, when I go to the store, I tie up my bags when I am leaving; I double bag heavier bags; I don’t have them put things like a gallon of milk in a bag because that would be stupid.
You are calling a minimum-wage high school graduate behind the cash register a “professional”? Please.
It does not always work that way, especially when you knowingly use crappy bags and your employee over loads the bag resulting in death.
I am certain the woman sought medical attention, few with a broken toe would not.
She may have gotten Staph at the hospital.
But I don’t see how the shopper was negligent and nobody else is.
Well, at least the ones who do good jobs, and don't steal from them, or set up fraud and theft rings...
Most people of low, middle, or average intelligence who have a small open wound, wash it with soap and water, douse it with peroxide, and put some neosporin and a band-aid on it.
This country is in dire need of Tort reform!
I ask for items to be double bagged and sometimes the handles still break. This was at my grocery store. They are not made like they use to be.
Plus, every chain including Walmart sells polyester fabric shopping bags and encourages people to use them. Some stores even give nickel discounts for using "green" recyclable bags instead of paper or plastic.
The jobs pretty simple.
Could you at least do it right?
If you order a $4K electronic item and it arrives smashed, due to improper packing would you just eat it?
Sorry. I disagree with you. Once she picked that bag up and took possession of it she knew it was overloaded. Period. She has to take some responsibility. If there would be culpability, it would be if she asked for different bagging and was refused. But, nothing in the story suggests that happened.